Vineyard Tower is a $120 million expansion to Gaylord Texas Resort & Convention Center


Orlando, FL area restaurants and the Central Florida chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) are partnering to make the Summer of Dreams come true for homeless Central Florida youths. The annual “Round Up For Kids” fundraiser for the Orlando After-School All-Stars initiative will provide meals, academic enrichment, tutoring, mentoring, and a backpack filled with school supplies for the upcoming school term. Last year, the Summer of Dreams program served 1,151 Central Florida homeless students. Diners can help just by letting participating restaurants know you want to support the cause by rounding up your check to the nearest dollar or donate a specific amount. Click on for participating restaurants. Raise awareness of the program by taking a pic of your meal and share on social media to: #RoundUpForKids #SummerOfDreams #OrlandoASAS and/or tagging @OrlandoAfterSchoolAllStars@OrlandoASAS.

Second Harvest Food Bank in Orlando makes no secret of its mission during the summer; ie, to feed students who aren’t eligible for free meals and other nutritious perks available during the school year. Chef John Dizon says the Second Harvest Summer Food Service Program can make over 6,000 meals in three hours, thanks to the volunteers. “We use what’s called a one-piece flow, everyone has exactly one task to do.” Each volunteer plays a different role in the process from counting trays to portion control. Each meal must have vegetables, fruit, dairy and a protein, as well as hit a certain amount of calories throughout the week. Money to support the program comes from people donating funds (for every $10, Second Harvest can feed 40 people) and those hosting virtual food drives. Second Harvest More than 250,000 meals to children in the Central Florida community will be fed this summer. Since the program’s inception in 2008, more than a million meals have been served.

Conrad Indianapolis lobby


Receive 5% room rebate to the master account when you book the Conrad Indianapolis by September 30. The hotel has 15,000 sf of versatile function space featuring 13 individual meeting rooms as well as the adjoining Artsgarden, a glass-domed function space with picturesque views. From boardrooms to the Vienna Ballroom, Conrad Indianapolis’ event spaces accommodate meetings up to 225, dinners up to 350 and receptions up to 1,000. When you book by September 30, you also can choose two options, including Double Hilton Honors Points, complimentary upgrade to a Collection Suite, or one complimentary round trip airport transfer to Indianapolis International Airport. Also possible is a 30% discount on AV if the hotel’s AV is used for all events; 15% discount on F&B for After 5 events; and a complimentary basic internet in the function space.

Meliá has offers too difficult to ignore. Vacation in Mexico at the Paradisus Cancún and receive a 35% discount. The stay includes $100 USD in MeliáRewards Points to use in YHI Spa treatments, and up to $1,500 USD in resort credit for services at the resort. Kids stay free. Stay in select properties in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom and get from 35 to 45% off your stay. Booking must be made by June 30 and stays before December 22 for this offer.


Rabbit Hole Distillery’s June opening in the Nulu neighbood became the eighth distillery visitor experience to open in the Louisville, KY area since 2013. The 55,000 sf Rabbit Hole Distillery will have an annual production capacity of 1.2 million proof gallons, making it one of the top 20 largest bourbon distilleries in the world. Additionally, the distillery is designed to raise the bar for Louisville and Kentucky distillery tourism. Kaveh Zamanian, Rabbit Hole Founder and Whiskey Maker thanks Karen Williams and the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau for their contribution to the “record amounts of tourists coming to our city to celebrate bourbon.” Visitors can sample both straight bourbons and cocktails at the inhouse bar from a menu curated by Proprietors LLC. The new event space, The Overlook, on the distillery’s third floor has views of downtown Louisville and bridges on the Ohio river. Not to overshadowed, three new bourbon attractions on the historic Whiskey Row are under construction. Old Forester Distillery should open this month on a site which housed two former barrel warehouses dating back to the 1850’s. Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery and the Frazier History Museum’s Welcome Center & Exhibit, which will be the official starting point for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, will both open in the Fall. or


Opening the Vineyard Tower during the $120 million expansion at Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, adds 86,000 sf of additional meeting space, 303 more guest rooms, two outdoor terraces and a dedicated loading dock. Event space includes a new 30,000 sf ballroom, 30,000 sf breakout space, and about 26,000 sf of pre-function space. The property now has a total of over 490,000 sf of meeting space.


Consumers and party groups take note: Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin just signed House Bill 400, titled The ‘Bourbon Without Borders’ Bill. This new law requires in-person sales at Kentucky distilleries and wineries in order to ship. Any of the more than 55 distilleries or 60 wineries in the state will have this option. Guests also can sign up for Bourbon and wine “Clubs of the Month” and receive unique shipments of Kentucky’s products throughout the year. Of course, none of this is possible until the visitor’s state allows alcohol shipments and the area into a dry territory.;


Hotwire Communications is bringing its high-speed broadband services and advanced amenities to One Daytona, a mixed-use entertainment destination being developed by International Speedway Corporation (ISC), just across from the Daytona International Speedway, and to Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The Fontainebleau will be one of the first hotels in Miami Beach to have full 10 gigabit service, the largest dedicated fiber circuit in Hotwire’s history. Hotwire Communications will install a 100% fiber optic backbone to deliver 1-gigabit capability. Fision Stay, one of the line of high-end products offered by Hotwire, was specifically designed for the hospitality industry and will be installed at both One Daytona and Fountainbleau Miami Beach. One Daytona opened in late 2017 and includes retail, dining and entertainment, as well as two upcoming hotels: a full-service Marriott Autograph Collection opening in late 2018 and a Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott. The Fountainbleu opened in 1954. In 2012 it was named “Best Building in Florida” by the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Sip and stop at wineries on the Napa Valley Wine Train


Take a midweek ride aboard the vintage Napa Valley Wine Train (Napa Valley, CA) and save 20% on the cost of the Gourmet Express lunch or the Sunday Dinner Journey. Multiple course gourmet meal. The multi-course meal, welcome wine and three-hour journey are yours through June 30 by using BLOOM20.

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2017 – 2018 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the second consecutive year. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events.;; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.


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